I'm going with a Working Holiday visa to NZ for a year. I'm starting to look for health (or travel) insurance in my country (Chile) to leave with a little more peace of mind.

When I was looking for insurance, the first result got me to this company and it says

[...] a low cost and comprehensive health and travel insurance that meets NZ Immigration requirements.
It is compulsory for Working Holiday Visa holders coming to NZ to work in retail, fruit picking, or hospitality industries to provide evidence of comprehensive travel insurance while they are in New Zealand

I haven't realized it was compulsory to have health insurance to go. And sure enough, I went and read the inmigration website once more

To be eligible [...] hold medical and comprehensive hospitalisation insurance for the length of your stay

even though in the actual visa I got it didn't refer to health anywhere, except maybe

You may also be asked to provide evidence of any other conditions that you were required to meet as part of the working holiday scheme under which you submitted your application.

So, ok, I have to get health insurance. But that leaves me with a whole lot more of questions:

  • Does anyone know if they'll check it coming in our out of the country?
  • And what is considered "comprehensive hospitalization"? Should I worry about how much does my insurance cover to know if NZ considers it "comprehensive" and let me enter the country?
  • Does it matter where I get my insurance, Chile or NZ (don't even know if I can do that from Chile)? I mean, can I arrive in NZ and ask for insurance there or won't I even be allowed out of the airport without one?
  • Does the insurance has to be for the length of my stay? I don't even have return tickets so I can't really give a date. Most insurance companies in Chile give and estimate for max of 60 days. Can I get and insurance in Chile for those 60 days and look for other insurance in NZ after those 60 days?

I know those are a lot of questions and I'm supposed to post one question per... well, post, but they all relate to the exact same thing: what does "comprehensive hospitalization" means? What are my limitations or exact requirements to decide for an insurance plan or the other? I don't want to pay for a plan and then realize it isn't really what NZ wants and kicks me out...

  • 1
    Interesting, I hadn't heard of that insurance requirement before. I did some digging and it appears that it depends on which country you come from. So people from Chile on a WHV require health insurance, but people from Canada do not. There are some other differences too, so the terms of the visa must be negotiated individually with each country. May 27, 2014 at 23:23
  • @GregHewgill it appears to be as you say. I've look at other available schemes for the visa and Canada doesn't have that requirement. But it still leaves me with the same questions: what are the minimum requirements a health insurance has to meet to be "approved" by NZ? Can I just buy the cheapest I find and be done with it or should the coverage have a minimal quota?
    – Nunser
    May 28, 2014 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


By my experience (Chilean who applied for a WH visa to NZ) I purchased insurance for one year in Chile. I asked to the company for a certificate to show in the customs, but when I arrived to NZ, nobody asked me for it (neither the minimal money, BTW). As far as I know, this is completely random, because in NZ I asked some people, and none of them told me in that moment (2011) that someone asked for papers validating that they had money or insurance, but a few of them told me that they knew someone who had been asked for those papers.

My recommendation, just to be sure: contract your insurance in Chile. It's cheaper than in NZ, and for the whole time you're going to stay, it's better to be safe than sorry. Besides, you could have a bad moment in customs, or in the worst case, they could send you back to Chile.

  • I thought I needed to do that much, but confirmation from someone who's already done it is so much better! I will contact you with more doubts, so before you send me to the spam folder tell me if I'm bothering you too much :)
    – Nunser
    May 30, 2014 at 13:25

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